Seven Smiles from Street to Seat #L2IPA

A few weeks ago, the title of this post was revealed to me as a common practice Kevin Geer expects within his  organization. The contagious positive emotion a smile creates motivates us to share it and feel it.

The reality of this happening every day in a school setting made my heart burst with excitement and reflection. If a school fosters and maintains a positive culture you should feel the smile when you walk into the building!

Once our students meet their seats, how can we continue student smiles throughout the day? Below are five guidelines:

  1. SMILE- Show your students that you LOVE having them in your classroom.
  2. TRUST- Intentionally take time to develop meaningful relationships with a foundation of authentic trust.
  3. CELEBRATE- Focus on the positive and praise the behaviors you expect.
  4. COMMUNICATE- Post and explain learning goals guiding students to clearly understand essential standards.
  5.  COLLABORATE- Welcome parents as a part of the student, teacher, and parent team. Bring parents into the classroom everyday by sharing your story.

Below is a great example of what it takes to continue the positive emotion created from the seven initial smiles shared before students meet their seats!

We Can’t Do It Alone…#L2IPA

Educational leaders know that with every student success, it took a team to make it happen.
andy-stanley-experience-quote

As I reflected on the successful experiences throughout our first trimester, I took a little more time to evaluate our culture of gratitude. We have worked diligently to create opportunities for our students to demonstrate thankfulness and gratefulness for each other and for their teachers; however, consistent opportunities to express collective gratitude within the team of adults who are guiding our students each day was missing.

While listening to an Andy Stanley’s Leadership Podcast, I was inspired by how, within his organization, he simply and effectively facilitates a culture of gratitude. During staff meetings, he provides notes and time for team members to write short thank you letters to those who have helped them be successful. Upon hearing this, I was excited about the opportunity to apply this practice!

During our monthly staff meeting last week, this was how we began our meeting. Our team was provided with a paper thank you note and time.  As our team began to write their notes, some asked for more! The next day, the feedback was even better as team members openly shared their excitement about receiving notes!

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Sometimes the only motivation we need to persevere through the challenges of striving to reach goals are a few words of appreciation. Since Zig Ziglar’s quote below proves to be true, this will be a leadership practice that I will continue!

People often say that motivation doesn’t last. Well, neither does bathing – that’s why we recommend it daily.

As you move on through the rest of your day, watch the short video below and think about who is on your team. How do you share your appreciation?

Thankful for Refection & Feedback #L2IPA

With a bright smile on her face, my oldest daughter presented me with a slightly wrinkled and water damaged Self-Assessment paper. As I began to read through her personal reflection, she quickly asked me if I noticed what her teacher wrote. As my eyes moved down to the bottom of the page, I saw it!  A powerful sentence that provided specific feedback and motivation for my daughter to continue to strive to meet teacher expectations and standard proficiency.
reflection-feedback

As educators, we focus on providing students with clear expectations and specific feedback. When I saw the positive impact of these essential practices conveyed in my own child, I was truly thankful for the time her teacher took to facilitate student reflection and to provide specific feedback. Being intentional with our expectations and devoting time to provide feedback to each student is worth the extra effort!

Specific feedback empowers our students to reflect on their current progress and leads the way to continued achievement.

Thank you to all of the educators who devote their efforts to providing specific information that motivates our students to be lifelong learners who desire continued success.

Learning What To Do

I knew what to do.

As I finally stopped to sit down at my desk to reflect on what had just occurred, the words above continued to be repeated in my mind… I knew what to do, I can’t believe it- I knew what to do.

A student was brought to my office visibly upset due to an incident on the playground. At first the behavior was quiet as the student shared a few angry words about what happened. Then, without warning, unexpected behavior forced its way throughout my office as the student became physically escalated.  This usually smiley and quiet student became unreachable. Immediately, I focused on my past experiences of similar situations and the knowledge shared from our incredible school wide behavior team:

  1. Stop all noise/talking
  2. Back completely away from the behavior, reducing negative attention
  3. Allow the student to find a place within the room to cool down
  4. Know and be okay with the fact that there is more to this behavior and we are not going to solve this problem today

I am grateful for our school behavior experts! This team consists of our school psychologist, student and family advocate, counselor, social worker, mental health worker, and nurse. These highly skilled educators are leading our team to be trauma informed, empathetic and understanding of student behaviors, and to prevent negative behavior. Ultimately, this team is leading our school away from reactive band-aid solutions and towards the implementation of positive behavior interventions.

Our actions have the opportunity to demonstrate a quiet understanding, leading students to begin to trust.

What Is Your Four Minute Mile? #L2IPA

People often say that motivation doesn’t last. Well, neither does bathing-that’s why we recommend it daily. -Zig Ziglar

Are you looking for consistent inspiration?  One of my favorite motivators is to listen to podcasts.  The episodes I choose provide the foundation for deep reflection on my current leadership practices.  These moments of reflection allow me to slow down and plan for personal and professional self-improvement, facilitating a transition to committing to new ideas and positive plans.

My daily goal is to be a consistently transparent and positive leader who inspires others to perform beyond their best expectations. As we move into a new school year, the podcast 413: Hostile takeover of your mind from Ziglar’s True Performance Show inspired me to implement new ideas to make positive leadership contagious! The host of the show, Kevin Miller, (along with an excerpt from Zig) discussed the impressive first sub-four-minute mile world record set by Roger Bannister.  Before Roger broke this record, it did not seem possible that someone could run a mile under four minutes… This incredible achievement demonstrated that anything is possible!  Learning about this record and the idea of success beyond expectations, the words of my parents echoed in my heart and mind.  They told me over and over again that I could do anything I set my mind to- I believed them and I want others to own this same belief!

As educators, we are in the business of inspiring and growing positive leaders. It is our job to show our students anything is possible! At the end of this podcast, Kevin asks, “What is your four-minute mile?”  I pass this question onto educators.

  • What goal(s) do you have for yourself and for your students as leaders?
  • With rigorous curriculum and the high expectations of standard mastery, how will you lead students to believe and know they can achieve high levels of success?
  • How will you build relationships with students so they trust you and take risks with their learning?

My four-minute mile goal: Facilitating leadership that guides each one of our school team members and students to see themselves as positive leaders and high achievers.

My current podcast playlist:

Ziglar’s True Performance Show
Andy Stanley Leadership Podcast
Hack Learning Podcast
Principal Matters: The School Leader’s Podcast with William D. Parker

30 Days of Summer

Grit = Courage and resolve; strength of character.

It has been 30 days since we played Schools Out for Summer! It always amazes me how this time of year begins to zip along so quickly. As I reflect on student progress during the 2015-2016 school year, GRIT describes it. I am so proud of each one of our students and the continued effort they demonstrated to maintain a positive attitude when learning new concepts that were challenging. Our students supported each other in taking risks with their learning and applied an alternative definition to the word fail = Forever Acquiring Important Lessons.

Click here to view a short Flipagram of our school year.

In honor of our 2016 fabulous Fifth Grade Class, click here to view a short Flipagram made just for you.

Enjoy these beautiful days of summer! As I plan for the 2016-2017 school year, I look forward to seeing the smiling faces of our Hedges students in just 54 days!

 

Positive Planning

 

It is summer and our Hedges Team is still working hard! Last week, our behavior and academic teams met to reflect on school wide student behavior expectations, communication, and celebrations.The keys to success are communication, reflection, and colla-2

Click here to view on Periscope!

After discussing what we learned at the MBI/PBIS Summer Institute/ MTSS training and reflecting on the 2016-2017 school year, we split into decision-making groups and divided up revising and enhancing current expectations. It was empowering to hear teacher leaders discussing and planning how to improve our practices for our students.

We began:

  1. Updating our Behavior Expectation T-Charts by adding visuals to provide a clearer understanding for our younger students. When school begins in August, we will add photos of our current students positively modeling the expectations.
  2. A collaborative plan for our Tier 1 (all students) classroom instruction. This will enable our teachers and our behavior support team to collectively communicate school wide behavior expectations, positive friendship strategies, and maintain a framework of instruction that prevents bullying.
  3. Developing a schedule to intentionally celebrate positive behavior and academic success. We will post our celebrations on our site each month!

As we look forward to the 2016-2017 school year, our team continues to be student-centered while reflecting on continuing and implementing best practices!